Young chemist reinvents clean air for industry – University of Copenhagen

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13 May 2015

Young chemist reinvents clean air for industry

SCIENCE award

Air pollution causes one in eight deaths worldwide. In response, many countries are tightening their emission standards for industrial polluters. Carl Meusinger, a researcher at UCPH’s Department of Chemistry, helps connect polluters with research-based air purification solutions developed at the University of Copenhagen. To honour his work, Meusinger has been awarded the first ever “SCIENCE Business Prize for Young Researchers”. The prize is given by the University of Copenhagen's Faculty of Science. It includes a sum of DKK 75,000 (EUR 10,000) intended for academic purposes.

Carl Meusinger is an industrial postdoc at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Chemistry. He divides his time between industrial problem solving at INFUSER A/S, conducting research at the Copenhagen Center for Atmospheric Research (CCAR) and teaching chemistry. His job as a link between the private sector and a public research and educational institution is one that he describes as a “creative sweet spot”.

"Our research center CCAR is approached by companies with concrete problems, companies that run the risk of being shut down by environmental authorities if they keep polluting!

Carl Meusinger

Post Doc

Department of Chemistry

University of Copenhagen

“CCAR is approached by companies with concrete problems, companies that run the risk of being shut down by environmental authorities if they keep polluting. This tickles our academic curiosity, as we get to address some incredibly exciting questions. But being academic about it isn’t enough. INFUSER A/S, our partner, has a demand for workable solutions. This compels us to work ultra creatively at all times,” explains Carl Meusinger.

Novel methods tested in "Real Live Industrial Settings"

Thus far, the INFUSER-UCPH partnership has installed air purification systems at an industrial wastewater treatment facility in Aarhus (DK), a snack food manufacturer in Torekov (SWE) and a feed manufacturer in Jelling (DK). Each of the three installations was able to substantially reduce air pollution and many companies, both in Denmark and abroad, are on their way to joining the list of clients because Infuser's Climatic system is able to remove a wide range of gas and particulate pollution with a surprisingly low energy consumption. INFUSER’s primary method, known as Gas Phase Advanced Oxidation (GPAO) is licensed from the University of Copenhagen. It requires minimal upkeep and eliminates the need to construct expensive chimneys.

Animation: Filip Kobjevsky. Written and directed by Jes Andersen.

Atmospheres own natural air cleaning method

Air pollution is composed of substances in their gaseous states. As such, the molecules of these substances are farther apart and quite difficult to remove. Previous methods would burn, freeze or filter the pollutants or deal with them by building a chimney so high that they would dilute before falling back to earth. INFUSER’s GPAO-method was invented at UCPH and works by mimicking our atmosphere’s natural air purification process. By adding ozone and accelerating the process with ultraviolet light, a chemical process is set into motion that makes gas molecules “sticky”. This causes individual molecules to stick to one another, become larger and eventually form dust particles. Whereas eliminating gas is difficult, gathering dust is a breeze.

Indispensible link between research and business

When INFUSER and UCPH began collaborating in 2012, Department of Chemistry researchers knew that the GPAO-method could remove benzene, toluene, xylene and ethyl benzene. Since Meusinger came on board in 2013, he has been a driving force to expand GPAO’s range. He has demonstrated that the method can serve automotive painters, iron foundries and polystyrene manufacturers, among others. And now, the results are set to open the doors of large industrial companies in China and Germany.

According to INFUSER CEO Lars Nannerup, his company can thank Carl Meusinger for a great deal of their recent progress.

"Our close collaboration with the university has been paramount for us as a point of reference, a recruiting base and as a partner in development!

Lars Nannerup

CEO

INFUSER A/S

“Our close collaboration with the university has been paramount for us as a point of reference, a recruiting base and as a partner in development. Carl has excelled, especially as an indispensible link between the business and research ends, as well as being a constant source of constructive support for the technical team at INFUSER,” says Nannerup.

INFUSER receives support from the Ministry of Business and Growth in Denmark’s “Renewal Fund” (Fornyelsesfonden) initiative and is jointly owned by company management and CAPNOVA, an investment and development firm. Carl Meusinger’s research for INFUSER and UCPH has received support from Innovation Fund Denmark.

Further information

  • More about CCAR: Carl Meusinger (+45) 21 18 11 56 or mail came@kiku.dk
  • More about INFUSER A/S: Lars Nannerup Mail: ln@infuser.eu (+45) 2242 4455
  • More about the prize and private and public sector collaboration at Faculty of Science: Erik Bisgaard Madsen, Associate Dean for Private and Public Sector Services, mobile: +45 40 45 08 83
  • More information about air pollution and associated health risks: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/